LONDON: Switzerland’s government has drafted a new law to issue 990 Swiss franc ($990) fines to women wearing burqas in public.
However, the draft law sent to parliament on Wednesday does not mention the burqa by name, and includes several exemptions for wearing face coverings on aircraft, as well as in diplomatic premises and religious sites.
Artistic performances and advertising are also exempt from the ban.
About 5 percent of Switzerland’s population is Muslim, with many originating from Turkey and Balkan states, including Bosnia and Kosovo.
Within Europe, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Bulgaria have partial or complete bans on wearing face coverings in public.
The Swiss move was launched by the same political group that oversaw the 2009 ban on new minarets in the country. The proposal to ban face coverings in public was passed in a binding referendum in 2021.
After political consultations this year, the Swiss Cabinet reduced the penalty for breaking the burqa law from a proposed 10,000 Swiss francs.
A Cabinet statement said: “The ban on covering faces aims to ensure public safety and order. Punishment is not the priority.”